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They are on a very dangerous path

They are on a very dangerous path Featured

Mr Bowman Lusambo is saying that “whatever it takes we are winning the general elections”. What does this mean?
The other week his boss, Mr Edgar Lungu, was saying those who want to takeover from him as presidents of Zambia should wait for 2026 or 2031. How should this be interpreted?
We shouldn’t also forget that early in his presidency Mr Lungu warned Zambians that he would crush like a tonne of bricks anyone who tried to stand in his way.
This desire to win or retain power – have a third term of office – at any cost by Mr Lungu and his disciples is dangerous and frightening.
From my very limited military studies and experience, I learned that victory at any cost is dangerous. We were taught that victory must be measured by its sustainability over time. Overcoming a foe, joined by many enraged citizens — whose survivors would only regroup with hardening resolve to carry on the war — doesn’t constitute a true victory.
Winning, it can be argued, isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be. Despite our preoccupation with victory, winning is often a double-edged sword.
I am surprised to see the “win-at-all-costs” attitude applied to our politics by Mr Lungu – who I expect to have some reasonable military knowledge and experience. Causes, campaigns and crusades are fueled by self-righteous enthusiasm in the struggle against those who we assess as wrong-headedly seeking to oppose us. ‘If they can’t be convinced,’ we think, ‘they must be defeated. If in defeat they refuse subjugation, they must be destroyed. At all costs, we must win.’
Though the exact nature of our political problems might be unique, it’s certainly not the first time in Zambian politics that we find ourselves in a place where it’s much easier — and a more certain path to electoral victory — to destroy one’s opponent rather than attempt to find common ground, or at least mutual respect. We still remember how Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and UPP were treated, detained in prisons and their party banned by the UNIP government.
Of course, some things are worth fighting for — at critical moments in our history, we’ve had winners and losers. The fatal trap is that an objective of “destroying” your political opponent is absurd. A functioning multiparty democracy not only has, but needs more viable political parties, not a triumphant victor and an opposition left hopelessly vanquished.
Checks and balances are needed to defend ourselves from our own worst instincts. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. Total victory or catastrophic success can be the worst of calamities. There’s a point in the “fight” when we must understand that effective negotiation and compromise is not only the best course of action — but it’s the only one that could possibly maintain a political environment where future multiparty governance is possible. In politics, as in war, every decision must be taken with an eye to the future — remembering that the next issue must be adjudicated by respected and respectful opponents.
This regime of Mr Lungu needs to moderate its push to destroy the opposition because it runs counter to our natural inclination, felt in the heat of combat, to demonise or belittle the foe. In the short term, it seems to unite us against a common, hated enemy. But when you seek to delegitimise your foe, you’re actually inviting your own delegitimisation. To be sure, it’s a precarious balance. It’s important to “fight” for one’s beliefs, but there is a point at which “fighting” erodes underlying foundations. In politics, at its hyperbolic end, the losing party is outlawed and its leaders jailed on trumped up treason charges. And historically, the prevailing party, absent the moderating influence of a loyal opposition, soon runs off the rails.
At the best of times, what you’ll leave behind is a generational divide. If people forget the protagonists involved, what they’ll remember is what crushing the enemy, or being crushed, felt like. They’ll tell their children, and their children’s children, who to trust and who to malign.
Soon, the independence ideals that harked in our multiparty democracy will wisp away, like the wind. The moment of apparent conquest can be the time of greatest vulnerability. Grasping for total victory can be our undoing.
It’s tempting to want “strength” in these tumultuous times, but the job of building and repairing our country has to come from a collective leadership. Our leaders won’t look the same; they won’t always agree with one another; and, as with any collective, it won’t make everyone happy at all points. That’s what compromise, and living in a functioning multiparty democracy, looks like. What will define this collective leadership is their stance towards those who may think a little different from themselves — who may have a different order of priorities and way of doing business. Don’t look out for these leaders as being the women and men with the loudest voices, or the most zealous convictions. Instead, they’ll be the ones willing to let go of the side of the pool, so that they can swim towards the middle.
It is a big task of those who would step forward. There are few parades for the modest moderate and endless criticism from the frenzied fringes on both sides. Instead, these true heroes must take quiet satisfaction that their contributions will enable possibilities further in the future than most people look. And even when that future arrives, there will be loud complaints about the traffic from the vocal experts who rail on, oblivious to the selfless labour and thoughtful compromises that created the roads they take for granted.
Still, those leaders are among us. We cannot wait for them to rise one-by-one only to be pummeled down by a cacophony of intolerance and tyranny. It is up to us to encourage, support, and celebrate those who will serve and lead. When they stand, we must stand with them.

Fred M’membe

Mkaika residents welcome adoption of Phiri

Mkaika residents welcome adoption of Phiri Featured

The Socialist Party (SP) in Mkaika constituency in Katete district in Eastern Province have commended the party leadership for adopting Martin Phiri to contest as a member of parliament in the soon coming 2021 general elections.

And Lukweta ward chairlady Charity Banda said the adoption of local people like Phiri would guarantee development that is responsive to the people’s aspirations.

She said the people from all the nine wards of the constituency have pledged to work with their own son, Phiri ahead of the general elections.

However, Banda expressed concern that unlike the Socialist Party, other parties were adopting non-indigenous candidates.

“Here in Lukweta ward we are very much ready to work with Martin Phiri as he has grown up from here so he understands the challenges we are going through here in Mkaika, there is no way we can reject our own son, he is our son and we are giving him our vote,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mnyamanzi Farms Chairperson Tobias Daka has appealed to Phiri to quickly address the water challenges affecting the people in the area since independence.

He expressed confidence that Phiri would address their pressing social issues.

“No one has visited us here, you are the only one to came here since Zambia got independence, no wonder we are saying you are our own child and you understand our problems,” Daka said.

And in response, Phiri expressed disappointment that people in the area still walk more than 15 kilometers to find drinking water, which they shared with domestic animals.

He has appealed to the people in the area to vote for people who could easily resonate with their challenges.

“The Socialist Party is a party for the poor and for the humble, we will try our best to work together with you here and address some of the challenges together with you, as development I cannot bring it here alone, I need your support and you also need our support, vote for the right people and voting for the Socialist Party, you will not be disappointed,” said Phiri.

Let’s learn to do things the right way

Let’s learn to do things the right way Featured

We need to quickly learn how to do things the right way even if it calls for our greatest efforts.
As a nation, we have been battling with COVID-19 since March last year but up to now we are behaving as if the pandemic is new – something that has just sprung up.
With the experience that we now have and the world has, we should be in a position to come up with concrete measures and contain the spread of this deadly virus and there save lives. However, everything has been politicized and ‘corruptised’. Just after the first wave had been contained, our technocrats met with the donor community in October to discuss preparations for the second wave. All their recommendations were discarded for political expediency.
Instead of getting donor support in terms of receiving enough testing kits, personal protective equipment, oxygen, ventilators and PCR testing machines, the Ministry of Health opted to get financing from the treasury which is broke so that it could do its own procurement. As if that was not enough, the old Levy Hospital in Lusaka was closed and put under renovation amidst a pandemic just to give a construction contract to someone. Consequently, today, there isn’t enough bed space, hence some wards at UTH have been turned into isolation centres.
A couple of days ago, the New Maina Soko Hospital was hurriedly opened  to meet demand without putting everything required in place, hence the increase in numbers of deaths.
Despite being aware that 80 per cent of the COVID-19 patients have to rely on oxygen, our oxygen purity fall below the required standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of minimum 80 per cent. Strange enough, our oxygen purity is between 45 per cent and 50 per cent which is 30 per cent to 35 per cent below WHO recommendations. As if that is not enough, sometimes there is no oxygen at COVID-19 centres leading to loss of lives. Last week, eight people died when there was power failure at Maina Soko Hospital and the oxygen machines went into self protective mode.
And when it comes to adherence to COVID-19 rules, politicians in the ruling party have not set the right example to our people as they do not practice social distancing, sanitize or wash their hands and avoid large clouds. Today, the President himself has gone into a full campaign swing and thereby becoming a possible mass spreader of COVID-19. I am not a scientist but I suspect this is what has increased the COVID-19 cases in rural areas.
Worse still, our front line workers have not been incentivized in terms of risk allowances for putting their lives at risk. Besides, personal protective equipments are not well stocked. At one point last year medical staff were given two surgical masks per week. The situation has not yet improved. Where has the K600 million given to the Disaster Management Unit to curb COVID-19 gone? In a nut shell, the government has shown lack of capacity to deal with this crisis. Our health system has collapsed!

Fred M’membe

Sata was real, so real…

Sata was real, so real… Featured

The enemies of Michael Sata accuse me of putting him and the Patriotic Front in power in 2011. They are not right; they are wrong.
I don’t deserve that much credit. It wasn’t possible for me to make Michael win those highly contested elections. Michael’s political journey started long before I was born. He was a top trade union leader, freedom fighter, businessman, councillor, governor of Lusaka, minister of state, minister of local government, minister of health, minister without portfolio, secretary general of MMD without any participation or influence from me. Michael started the Patriotic Front without me. How can one sensibly try to credit me with making Michael, making him president of the Republic of Zambia? Michael was destined to be president of this country – it was just a matter of time.
For me the story of my association with Michael isn’t difficult or hard to tell because it isn’t fiction. It isn’t something I have to make up; it is my reality. I was insulted, humiliated and abused with him by people who are today enjoying the power he won for them.
When something comes from the heart, it has to be real.
The Michael I knew was a decent human being whose stance on various issues was known. He had a good sense of self image that’s why he would relate with people from all sorts of backgrounds. He was also able to make decisions right or wrong. He was not vengeful and made peace quickly. He didn’t claim to be what he was not – no posturing, pretence or hypocrisy. He showed his emotions whenever he was angry or happy. You didn’t have to guess about him. He was a real human being – with all the defects or frailties of a normal human being. He was real, so real – so creative. I miss him.
If supporting him, being his friend and brother was wrong, then I don’t want to be right!

Fred M’membe

Message of condolence on the death of Chief Chibesakunda

Message of condolence on the death of Chief Chibesakunda Featured

It is with a deep sense of sorrow and sadness that I have learnt of the untimely and tragic death of chief Chibesakunda (Bob Luo) of Chinsali.
Our beloved chief died from COVID-19.
And just the other week, Lubemba lost chief Mukukwile to COVID-19.
His departure from our midst, at the prime of his life and at a time when our country needed real change, revolutionary change, has robbed us of one of the most eminent representatives of the generation of traditional leaders who are actively involved in the struggle for more just, fair and humane nation and in the efforts to achieve a better life for all.
He belongs to the lineage of a proud and outstanding ancestry whose exploits in defence of our land, our dignity and our very being will forever remain etched in our proud history of resistance to colonialism.
Chief Chibesakunda was a wise, humble and respected leader in the Muchinga Province and across the length and breadth of Lubemba. We shall always remember him as an outstanding patriot.
On behalf of the Socialist Party and on my own behalf, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family and to the people of the Great Lubemba. Though I will, regrettably, not be able to be with you at the funeral, be assured that I am with you in spirit in this period of mourning.
As he departs to commune with the heroes of yore, I am certain that his message of a dignified and prosperous Lubemba will fill the ancestors’ hearts with joy.
May chief Chibesakunda’s majestic spirit rest in peace!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party